Interviewer: Tell me about the inspiration that went into this record. Talk about _LTH_ and being "louder than hell." Was that something you were just feeling you needed to be in the studio - wanting to be just this huge, mighty machine of metal?
Eric: You know we broke the Guinness Record of being the loudest band in Germany? It was in Hanover. During the last tour we did that. During the "Triumph of Steel" tour we did that. We were originally the "Loudest Band in the World", and then some prick band, I don't even remember their name, decided they wanted to break our record. They did, or said they did. So the word was out that maybe we weren't the loudest band or most powerful band. So we said, "Okay... let's show everybody right now." So we brought over a wall of gear. So much that we had to fly a whole section of gear on top of the other section of gear we had brought with us. We hooked it all up. Before the show we had invited CNN, MTV, the Guinness people, and they were all there with their special ear protection. And we kicked some serious ass brother... ... and broke the sound record and I don't think anyone is crazy enough to do that again.
Interviewer: What exactly was the decibel count?
Eric: I think Joey (DeMaio; bass) was playing at 129 DB... and that was just Joey, too. It was a pretty powerful sound. I mean, we didn't want to hurt our fans or make them go deaf so we toned down a little bit. Not only, when you come to a Manowar show, do you get a show, but you feel it too.
Interviewer: So seeing that we have been talking about being loud, the question again is, what was the inspiration for material and sound going into _LTH_?
Eric: We just wrote what we felt at the time. You can't just say you are gonna write a song right now and go and do it. We were riding on the Harleys one day and Joe came up with the idea of "Return of the Warlord", and with Scott (Columbus; drums) in the band again, it was just a cool idea to have. When an idea for a song happens, it fuckin' happens. If it is good enough to be on the album, then it goes on. Fuck, "Brothers of Metal" took fifty-seven versions before we finally put that one on.
Interviewer: When you are creating music, are you intentionally trying to create and use visions of a "barbarian-like" era?
Eric: We don't try to go back in any era. We have always felt that everyone has always needed a hero in their life. That hero could be you in the mirror. That is why the album cover has this warrior/hero-like image with no face. Because it could be anyone. We have always believed that heavy metal was about power and might and steel and just a strong feel to a song. That is why we have always had that in our songs. You can't get any more powerful than steel. It goes well with the heavy metal genre.
Interviewer: You guys are different to a lot of bands nowadays, especially with some of the bands in the metal genre. A lot of bands have fallen to the side but you guys continue to go on. Like any form of music, there is a need for certain types of music and they are in demand. Your type of music is a good example of that. How do you feel about Manowar being different from all the other types of music in the metal genre?
Eric: I think it is good. I think it is great that we are in a field by ourselves because people are pussies and they want to get out of the metal scene because they don't want to play from the heart anymore. They want to play from the wallet. These bands just want to sell songs that'll do well on the radio. Those bands are pussies as far as I am concerned and they don't belong in the metal scene. They should then just get the fuck out of the way. We are not like that. We believe in what we do. We listen to our fans. Our fans tell us "never change, never change," and we are not gonna fuckin' change. There is no need for us to change. I saw Metallica said that they aren't metal anymore. Well what the fuck? They have "metal" in their name for fuck's sake. They have been metal all this time. The metal crowd are the ones that bought them their cars and homes and now they are gonna fuck them and say, "We are not metal anymore?" That is bullshit. We would never let our fans down. We are proud to wave the metal flag.
Interviewer: Because you have stayed with the same sound and images, and are one of the only bands like Manowar now, do you get criticism for what you are doing?
Eric: I get criticism from journalists. Not you, because you are a fan, but mainly from journalists. You know what metal is about, not these guys. Fuck... I just got off the phone with a journalist in Greece who quite frankly was a prick. He said, "This sounds like old metal. Don't you think you should change with the times?" And I said, "Fuck you!" That is what I said, "Fuck you! You don't buy the records. Our fans buy the records and they tell us what the fuck what they want to hear. They tell us 'don't change' or 'stay the same' and we do that. We won't change." I explained to this guy, we believe what we do. He then says, "Well, I see these pictures of you guys riding motorbikes." And I said, "Yeah? So? What is wrong with that?" That whole thing goes with the metal scene. We have ridden bikes for years and it's something that the fans may have not seen till now. We are not ashamed of metal.
Interviewer: The way I describe your music is to go as far as to say that it reminds me of a barbarian, "we want to be strong" angle. You won't wimp out on a record. I mean, you do ballads on the record that are soft, but there is still the intensity there and the motivation of what you want to do.
Eric: You are exactly right. You got it right. The slow tracks on the album are there because I feel like singing and not just screaming. It still has that "believe in yourself attitude." Don't be a follower. Be a leader. That is how we feel. The slow songs still have that same feel or ideas.
Interviewer: From your perspective, how has the band's take on songwriting changed over the years?
Eric: I guess it depends who is in the band at that time. Our guitar player Karl Logan is really into theory and guitar work. He is brilliant. It has brought the band up to a level now where we can do anything and are not afraid to do it. We can do fast songs, slow songs, um...symphonic metal and take less time doing it. We have a guy now who can help us do what we want to do with our material.
Interviewer: For you, what do you get out of performing or the whole vision of being a pure mighty machine? What do you get out of this? Is it like taking on a role?
Eric: I get the chicks. I am the singer and I get the chicks. Joey and I get all the chicks. No...I just get a good feel up there...and the chicks. I get a really good feeling on stage, but not only on-stage. After the show on the bus when we are meeting some fans to sign autographs it just gives me a good feeling.
Interviewer: What are your favorite tracks on _LTH_? I like "Return Of The Warlord."
Eric: My favorite track that we have ever recorded is on this album. The song "King." Yeah.... "Return Of The Warlord" is cool. You know what is so cool about that song is that is the first track of the album. It just tells everyone that we are back together again with Scott in the band. It just makes sense to come out with something like that.
Interviewer: There are a lot of people that you thank on this record, people that have kept the vision of Manowar alive. What has been the hardest thing you have had to deal with over the years?
Eric: Oh...wow...that is a good question. That is a first. No one has ever asked me that before. I think the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with is speaking from my heart to journalists like yourself and then reading the article and they pissed on the band. That is the hardest thing I have had to face I think. If they get assigned the job and not really give a fuck about metal and they usually right about alternative music then we get fucked by that. It is people like that in the music industry that fuck the bands over the years and unfortunately they not only fuck the bands but the fans too.
Interviewer: Another focus that the band seems very detailed about is the inclusion of lyrics. How important are lyrics to you?
Eric: Lyrics are real important. Not only do they have to fit the songs and I have to be in character... I mean if I did "Courage" with a raunchy voice it wouldn't be the same as when I do it with a clean voice. You know what I am saying? I have to get into character with each song. The lyrics are important and if it is a powerful track and you want people to get the message the emotion has to be there. Lyrics are important, especially for metal.
Interviewer: What kind of stuff do you want to do with Manowar in the future? This record is out now, will it be sometime before Manowar is back in the studio?
Eric: I wanna get back out on the fuckin' road man. I have been in the studio for years now. It is time to hit the road. We would like to be out on the road as long as we can with this record. Until it is done. It could be a year... who knows? After that we will take a month off, take our vacations or whatever we do, and then go back into the studio. We'll clean our heads and then go back into the studio to create.
Interviewer: I have told you how I felt about the record or how I would describe it. You being the lead singer and leader of the band, how would you describe it? How would you describe it to someone who may not have heard Manowar before?
Eric: I would tell them to strap their nuts to their legs because they are gonna blow right off. They'll blow right off. The title _Louder Than Hell_ speaks for itself brother. It is loud and it is powerful.